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Arm wrestlers to flex muscles at Kew Gdns Hills competition

Chris Tsintavaris (l.) of Bayside takes on James Sismanouglou of Astoria during the 36th NYC Big Apple Grapple International last year, held at Cheap Shots in Kew Gardens Hills.
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Get ready for some arm wrestling.

Muscle men — and women — from across the world will descend on a Kew Gardens Hills bar Sunday afternoon to compete in the 37th Annual NYC Big Apple Grapple International Arm Wrestling Championships.

The contest was originally scheduled for early February, but was cancelled due to bad weather.

More than 100 contestants from as far away as Turkey and Russia are expected to participate in Sunday’s event, which will start at 1 p.m. at Cheap Shots Bar, at 149-05 Union Turnpike.

Contestants will be split into professional and amateur categories, as well as right- and left-hand weight classes for men and women.

In addition to bragging rights, those who place in the top three of each bracket will receive engraved gold, silver and bronze medals. The New York Arm Wrestling Association, which organizes the annual bout, will also award winning men of each weight class with $100 cash prizes.

But the accolade to win is the MVP King and Queen of Arms, given to the overall strongest man and woman.

“That’s the ultimate title,” said Gene Camp, founder and president of NYAWA. “It’s our biggest premier title of the year.”

Teams organized by contestants’ state, borough or county will also compete. A running point tally will be taken throughout the tournament to determine the winning team.

Registration will take place between 9 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. and all are welcome to participate. Entry fees are $25 for amateurs, $30 for pros and $10 for women, and all contestants will get a free T-shirt.

“The event will draw both hard-nosed pros and first-time beginners to compete in their respective weight categories,” Camp said. “We expect a day-long cheering, captive audience with awesome demonstrations of power, brute strength, exhausting endurance and explosive, raw energy.”

Organizers said they are expecting their largest turnout ever this year due to an increase in the popularity of arm wrestling, which they attributed to the release of a new AMC television show called “Game of Arms.”

The show provides a look into the world of competitive arm wrestlers and follows the members of five different clubs.

Camp said that over the last few weeks alone, since the show started, he has had 40 people apply for memberships with the NYAWA — so many people that Camp ran out of the T-shirts members receive for their $30 NYAWA membership fee.

“Everybody wants to be an arm wrestler,” Camp said. “This place is going to be packed to the maximum.”

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 8:25 pm, April 24, 2014
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